Category Archives: FOIA Documents

NDLON v. ICE – Documents Show Projected Growth in Immigration Detention Due to Secure Communities

Pursuant to prior federal court opinions in NDLON v. ICE holding that ICE must disclose information about agency “messaging” and already adopted policies related to Secure Communities, ICE recently released previously withheld information providing insight into the current immigration detention debate.  In an internal email exchange from Phyllis Coven to various ICE officials regarding the agency’s response to a New York Times inquiry, ICE maintained that due to Secure Communities, detention reforms would not lead to a reduction in detention capacity. The email links prospective growth in detention to activation of Secure Communities nationwide by 2013. (Doc. ID 0.798.162573 at pages 1-2.)

In addition, ICE released six undated Statements of Objectives (“SOO”) which serve as requests for proposals for new detention facilities in the following areas: Miami, San Francisco, North Carolina/South Carolina, Kansas City Area, Northeast, Texas. The disclosure of all SOOs is important to understand the true nature of ICE’s so-called civil detention reforms.

Click here to download the documents (zip file)

Recently, after much opposition by local immigrant rights organization, Florida Immigrant Coalition, and the residents of Southwest Ranches, the location of the proposed  ICE detention center, ICE decided not to move forward with building a new detention center in the Miami area. For more information about the campaign:

To read an article about the Florida victory:,0,4816411.story

“Sort of True” Still “Good Enuf” for ICE: Newly Disclosed Documents Confirm ICE Detainers are Voluntary, Suggest ICE Misled Public About Costs of Compliance

“Sort of True” Still “Good Enuf” for ICE

Newly Disclosed Documents Confirm ICE Detainers are Voluntary, Suggest ICE Misled Public About Costs of Compliance

July 6, 2012—Newly disclosed internal documents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) repeatedly describe immigration detainers as voluntary “requests” and confirm that there is no “procedure[] to force a[ local law enforcement agency] to honor detainers.” The documents also show that ICE does not reimburse localities for detainer costs and that officials considered providing misleading information to reporters to obscure the lack of federal funding.

The question of local control over immigration detainers has assumed prominence as cities and states address harms caused by ICE’s “Secure Communities” deportation program ( Today’s disclosure comes before a national week of action to “Restore Trust” by limiting police collaboration with ICE. Over the past year, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Santa Clara County, California have all passed local laws limiting compliance with immigration detainers. The California Senate is currently considering a similar bill at the statewide level, known as the “TRUST Act.” Backers of the laws say they are necessary to repair public trust destroyed by S-Comm.

The documents disclosed today confirm that compliance with immigration detainers is a matter of local discretion. Local authorities are not required to detain people in order to assist ICE deportations. The documents also confirm that the federal government does not reimburse locals for detainer-related cost. But ICE may have suggested otherwise to reporters. In one email, an ICE official considered telling a reporter that a federal funding program covers the cost of detainers despite acknowledging that “[s]aying [the] money is available for detainer cases is a little out of whack.” Another official responded by suggesting the statement would be “sort-of true . . . and that’s good enuf!” [sic].

View Document Index and Individual Documents

Download zip file of documents.

New FOIA Documents – Vulnerable Groups

FOIA Documents: Vulnerable Groups

Click here to view an Index of the documents, with click-able links.

On April 10, 2012, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network released 16 documents obtained though Freedom of Information Act litigation as part of the Uncover the Truth campaign.

The documents confirm that ICE has long been aware of particular risks, including civil rights concerns, that its Secure Communities (S-Comm) enforcement program poses to vulnerable groups like naturalized US Citizens, juveniles, and victims of crimes, including survivors of domestic violence.

Despite this awareness, ICE has responded reactively with either inadequate, cosmetic reforms or ad hoc solutions in individual cases.  One such case is that of Isaura Garcia, a Los Angeles resident, mother and domestic violence survivor. The documents show ICE’s reaction to news about Ms. Garcia’s detention and placement in deportation proceedings after she called 911 for help.  As documented in these e-mails, ICE’s response is a scrambled exercise in damage control, partnered with a willingness to blame their local law enforcement partner, the Los Angeles Police Department, rather than face up to the obvious: that S-Comm was the culprit the City of Los Angeles never invited.

A document shows that ICE expected local law enforcement to either alert ICE about crime victims or simply not fingerprint them in the first place.  ICE’s subsequent June 2011 memo about prosecutorial discretion for victims and witnesses similarly puts the burden on individuals outside the agency – specifically, attorneys or advocates – to alert the agency about crime victims and witnesses caught up in S-Comm’s dragnet-like design.

ICE’s disregard is further illustrated by a document regarding another case about a domestic violence victim from Lodi, California, who was arrested with her abuser and deported before the resolution of any criminal proceedings.  In discussing the case, ICE officials joked “This must have been a good fight!”

The lack of any process by ICE for protecting vulnerable groups shows that far from being targeted at “the worst of the worst,” S-Comm casts an immense net, in its wake leaving the community and local police to deal with the damage done to families and public safety.

The result has been fear in immigrant communities that has undermined public trust in local law enforcement and prevented victims and witnesses from coming forward, such as in the case of the sexual abuse tragedy at Miramonte Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District which came to light this spring.

As for U.S. citizens caught up in S-Comm, one of the documents show that an individual’s claim of citizenship and the provision of a U.S. birth certificate failed to satisfy ICE.  A Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General report released April 5, 2012 only further establishes that a substantial number of people identified through S-Comm are in fact U.S. citizens.

Advocates hope that the documents released today will shed further light on risks posed by S-Comm, and bring further momentum to state and local efforts to limit compliance with this deportation dragnet.   The next release of documents will point to ICE’s inadequate handling of racial profiling problems associated with S-Comm.

New Document Release – "Law Enforcement Packet"

This document contains a 3-page survey to LEAs (pages 35-37) about their booking processes and a number of Q&As about FBI and DHS procedures regarding fingerprint and information datasharing. This document can help localities develop an understanding of how quickly place of birth information is shared with ICE and at what stage of the booking and detention process, the detainer may drop. It also can help a community find out if a locality has sought funding to upgrade technology for Secure Communities or Next Generation Identification (NGI).

Click here to download the document “ICE 117629 – Packet to LEA”

New Release of "ICE Hold" (detainer) Documents

On March 19, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network released 22 documents obtained though Freedom of Information Act litigation as part of the Uncover the Truth campaign.

The documents, which reveal communications between ICE, Congressional representatives, and state and local law enforcement officials about immigration detainers (also known as “ICE holds”), confirm that ICE views  immigration holds as voluntary.  The documents also detail two cases of ICE holds placed on US citizens–an issue that has garnered increasing attention following findings by researchers at by UC Berkeley that over 3600 US citizens have been detained through S-Comm. Finally, the documents call into question the Obama Administration’s commitment to “prioritized enforcement” by showing that ICE holds are regularly placed on all individuals suspected of being deportable, regardless of the seriousness of their offense or the disposition of their charges.

ICE holds have become the subject of increasing attention in recent months, with several of the nation’s largest cities and counties passing legislation restricting compliance with the requests for local police assistance in the detention of suspected immigrants.  (For a list of local ordinances and accompanying text, visit Litigation challenging the constitutionality of ICE holds –which purport to authorize detention upon the “initiation of an investigation” into an individual’s immigration status–is also pending in federal district courts in Connecticut and Illinois.

Advocates hope that the documents released today will shed further light on abuses associated with ICE holds, and bring further momentum to state and local efforts to limit compliance with the ICE requests.